*Please note: A version of this post was originally published on October 7, 2014.
Ever since Bethany was diagnosed with a very large brain tumor I’ve been the recipient of much unwanted “medical” and spiritual advice.
Bethany has been cancer free for sixteen years now, but because she became permanently disabled as a result of her life threatening illness, sometimes people still feel compelled to offer me the same witty and still unwanted advice that I first heard so many years ago when our journey first began!
In order to spare other families a little bit of grief, I beg of you, please NEVER say the following 5 things to parents of a child with a life threatening illness!
1) Have you prayed about this?
Though I never actually say this out loud the response to this statement in my head is always a sarcastic, “No not at all. The thought has never even crossed my mind to ask God to let my daughter survive this life threatening illness!”
2) Have you tried (insert latest miracle cure here)?
When there is a tumor in your child’s head that is so big the pressure and strain it’s putting on her brain could kill her at any moment all you want and NEED to do is get it out of her head as soon as possible.
Most children with life threatening illnesses cannot wait days, weeks, or months for a natural remedy to do its magic!
I personally believe that the following three statements are said as coping mechanisms.
People actually say these things to make themselves feel better, not really to be supportive or helpful to you.
They need to believe that you did something bad that caused your child to get sick.
That way, they can avoid doing whatever it is that you did wrong and not have to worry that the same thing could just arbitrarily and out of the blue happen to their child.
3) God is punishing you because you or your husband has secret unconfessed sin.
Let me be perfectly clear here, I do not believe that God makes children ill to punish their parents for secret sins.
If God wanted to punish my husband or me for sins that we committed, then wouldn’t it make more sense for Him to make us get sick?
4) God is trying to get your attention because there is something wrong in your life that you need to change.
Again, wouldn’t it make more sense for God to make ME sick to get MY attention?
5) You just don’t have enough faith or God would heal her.
Sorry, but it’s my opinion that it takes lots and lots more faith to live with my child not getting healed than it would if God answered my continuous prayer to stop her relentless suffering.
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